A Special Leave Petition (SLP) was filed by the State of Gujarat in the Supreme Court against a judgment passed by the Gujarat High Court.
Observing that the SLP was filed with a delay of 476 days from the date of the judgement, the bench comprising of Justices Sanjay Kishan Kaul, Dinesh Maheshwari and Hrishikesh Roy, sternly demanded a reason as to why such a delay was caused. To this enquiry the State submitted that the delay was caused due to the time taken in delivering the judgement and procuring other documents of the case and due to the various steps and levels of authority involved in deciding the filing of an appeal.
Recording the State’s reasons, the judges expressed their annoyance with such cases and stated that the State’s reason for justifying the delay had no cogent or plausible ground and was pure “lethargy and incompetence”. The court made reference to several other cases wherein the such delays by the State were observed. Citing the case of State of Madhya Pradesh & Ors. v. Bheru Lal (2020), the court reiterated its stance on not tolerating such delays and stated that such practices adopted by public authorities and State Government of approaching the court without following the provisions of the Limitation Statute have always been discouraged by the court.
Further, categorising such cases as "certificate cases" the courts revealed their observation of such cases being filed as a mere formality to set up a facade in order to shield officers who may have defaulted in complying with the due process of law. Stating so, the court vehemently expressed their opposition to such delays and imposed a fine of Rs. 25,000 upon the State. The court ordered that the amount is to be paid by the officers responsible for the delay and a certificate of such recovery was to be submitted in the court.